Monday, April 28, 2008

Irksome Questions and Comments for the Write-at-Home Mom

Q: What do you plan on doing when the kids grow up?
A: More of the same.

More writing.
More cooking.
More gardening.
More home improvement projects.
More pro-life work.
More involvement in my husband’s home business.

All of the above are worthwhile occupations that I currently fill. Sometimes I fail to take credit for all of the roles that I fill because (a) I feel it is immodest and (b) that it should be recognized that “just being a mom” is enough. But on the flip side, socially I sometimes feel pressured to justify my existence as being more than that.

Q: Do you ever feel like your college education has gone to waste?
A: No.

Being better-educated makes one a better citizen, and aids in molding young minds. But this question hurts deeper than that because it implies that one’s own mind is not worth spending time and money to develop. Even if I never wrote for the public, never performed community service, never educated any children, if I chose to use all my spare time on personal endeavors I do not feel it is ever a waste to be well-educated and not be out in the work force.

Comment: Writing is such a nice thing to do in your spare time.
A: Thank you.

This statement is well-meaning maybe, but it comes across as patronizing.
First, I have virtually no spare time.
I write in my head while juggling multi-tasks. I write in notebooks while at baseball games or supervising bathtime. I am lucky if I get ten minutes to turn on the computer once a day, check my emails, and type up an essay to post on my blog.
Second, it implies that my writing is a casual hobby, when a writer is something at the core of my being. It is something I feel compelled to do, an activity as necessary as eating three square meals per day.

I was reminded by a good friend that the religious education classes typically do not teach to “pray for your enemies” as a good coping strategy. I take that to heart not to dwell on the speaker of irksome comments in a negative light but to pray for them. And not in a selfish way (as in “Lord please let them see me in a more respectful manner”), but a selfless and GIVING way (as in “Please bless her today”). Notice I do not say FORgiving for I truly believe they mean no harm.

It is I who am touchy and need to see my work in a way that is glorifying of God and not self. And then it certainly should not irk me no matter what others may think or say.

“If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me, What then shall I do when God riseth up? And when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? Did not he that made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?”
Job 31:13-15

Ilya Repin. Job and His Friends. 1869. Oil on canvas. The Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.

1 comment:

Judy said...

I am a grandmother of sixteen and my five children are grown. I am a faithful reader of your blog. It is so inspiring and I feel comforted after reading. I have recommended your site to my children